4+1 is a way for a Wellesley student to obtain a second bachelor's degree from Olin College through a fifth year of study. Students enrolled in the 4+1 program begin their engineering study while they are enrolled at Wellesley; by the time they complete their Wellesley degrees, 4+1 students have typically completed all of the math and science prerequisites as well as at least five engineering courses towards their Olin degree. Often this is done in the context of completing an Olin certificate program. In their fifth year, 4+1 students enroll at Olin College and spend both semesters in residence there, completing major requirements as well as the senior capstone project.
Relative to the certificate program, the 4+1 program requires a significantly greater commitment (at least an additional year of study), but also can provide greater access to engineering careers and/or graduate study in engineering.
As a dual degree program, the Olin 4+1 program offers a number of potential advantages for students. Because of the presence of the certificate program, and the ease of cross-registration and transportation between Wellesley and Olin, this program allows a Wellesley student to “taste” engineering before committing. The program also requires relatively little disruption to the student’s Wellesley program: the student graduates at Wellesley with her entering class, and then transitions smoothly to being a full-time student at Olin for her fifth year of study. Finally, the Olin engineering programs differ significantly from most other schools’ programs, particularly in the emphasis on design, active learning, and interdisciplinary approaches.
At the same time, the 4+1 program is clearly not appropriate for all students. For students in fields such as physics or computer science, a Masters degree in engineering, or in a science can in some cases make more sense than an additional bachelor's degree. Furthermore, the requirements of the program reduce a student’s elective flexibility during her four years at Wellesley. We therefore encourage students who are interested in 4+1 to take some representative engineering classes at Olin relatively early in their time at Wellesley, so that they can better assess whether 4+1 is a good choice.
Many Wellesley majors are, in principle, compatible. Naturally majors that include a higher fraction of science and mathematics courses have greater overlap with the requirements of an engineering degree; some majors may be incompatible simply due to the large number of units required.
The 4+1 Program can be thought of as an extension of the Certificate in Engineering studies. The Certificate Program provides students with the opportunity to explore engineering and to develop some fundamental skills in engineering. If, through this exploration, the student decides that an engineering BS is a direction she wishes to pursue, the certificate courses count towards completion of the BS. Note that in addition to Certificate courses, the student must also complete mathematics and science courses at Wellesley in order to pursue the 4+1 Program.Students wishing to complete the 4+1 program must, in general, complete their requirements at their home institution, as well as satisfying specfic science, math, and engineering requirements for the engineering degree, including a total of at least 8 units (32 credit hours) of science and mathematics, and at least 12 units (48 credit hours) of engineering. Units counted toward the Wellesley degree are counted in these totals. The details of the science, math, and engineering requirements are outlined here.
To illustrate the how students could complete both a Wellesley degree and an Olin degree, we have developed an example program of study, available here.
Admission to the 4+1 program typically takes place in the student's senior year at Wellesley, and is contingent on the student having already made progress towards the engineering degree. Students admitted to the 4+1 program receive Olin's 50% tuition scholarship, and are eligible for additional financial aid, including scholarships specifically designated for 4+1 students. Students who enroll at Olin to complete the fifth year of the 4+1 Program are guaranteed housing on campus, and like all Olin students are expected to live on the Olin campus unless special arrangements are made with the Dean of Students. For additional details of the Admissions process and financial aid, please see this page.